Sunday, April 27, 2014

Walking and Listening to "The Real Boy"

Ursu, Anne. The Real Boy. 8 hrs. 40 min. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 978-0062015075. Digital download via Overdrive 

Perhaps I should start this review with full disclosure. Several months back when this first book arrived in the library, I picked it up, super excited to read it, especially since I was a huge fan of Breadcrumbs.  I hate to say it, but I only got midway through. It seemed as though everywhere I turned, every review, blog, etc., was raving about this book, I was apparently the only person out there that just didn't get it. After about the 20th gushing review I read, I knew I had to give it another chance. Thank goodness I did. Oh, I get it now. I am a convert.

Oscar is very content being a hand to the only wizard in the Barrow, spending his time quietly behind the scenes gathering and preparing the herbs for Master Caleb. That all changes though when Master Caleb heads to the continent for business, leaving Wolf, the apprentice, and Oscar behind.  Things take an unexpected turn when Wolf meets a terrible fate and Oscar now must run the shop in Master Caleb's absence. Preferring not to interact with cats over humans, Oscar struggles. Thank goodness he meets Callie, for every Oscar needs a Callie, a kind, gentle person to help teach, guide and encourage them. The two begin not only a working relationship, but a true friendship.  When things start to go terribly wrong in Asteri, Master Caleb's greenhouse is destroyed, city children become sick and everyone believes a giant bear is on the loose, Oscar and Callie do everything they can to make sense of it all and save the sick children and town before it is too late.

Chris Sorenson did an amazing job narrating this story. He did a great job differentiating the characters voices, making them sound pretty darn close to how I had had them sounding when I  originally picked up the book. I also enjoyed his pacing of the story. It was as though he was appreciating every word that Anne Ursu had written and wanting to make them count.

Here are some photos I took while walking and listening to The Real Boy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Do You Have A Poem In Your Pocket?

The children and I have always had so much fun on Poem in Your Pocket Day and I have always hated that it was only just one day long. Soooo... this year I decided to make it Poem in Your Pocket Week! All week long I have been passing poems out to the the students as they have been visiting the library with their classes. That's 800 poems people! 800 poems that needed to be rolled up and tied together. Thank goodness rolling and tying poems can be done while watching television and that Trudie and Barbara stepped in just as my fingers were getting ready to fall off.

In the past, I have gathered poems from various books in the library, but this year I decided to tap into the talents of our 4th graders and one of our kindergarten classes. Back in February, the fourth graders and I talked about poetry and were really having fun with riddle poems, thanks to these books, both entitled Guess Again.

The fourth graders and I had so much fun with them that we decided to try our hand at riddle poems. While we LOVED and LAUGHED hysterically with the "Crazy Grandpa Ned" style of Mac Barnett, we decided it would be better to try and write some more like Lillian Morrison had written so we could all try to guess the answers.

The students came up with amazing riddle poems and their creativity blew my mind. Take a look and see if you can figure them out. The answers are at the end of this entry.

Some people call me by my brand name                            I once was red,
But really, truly, it's the same.                                            But you scratched me on the head.
Add paper and I'll be a present,                                          Now I'm black
I'll take from your nose the unpleasant.                              I can no longer go back.

I then took some of their riddle poems, typed them up and have been passing them out this week to other fourth graders. They have loved trying to figure each other's poems out.

One of our kindergarten classes, The Explorers, and I decided to try our hand at Haiku poems that we could share with our other kindergarteners on Poem in Your Pocket Day. This was The Explorers first time writing Haiku's and I couldn't be prouder of them! I just loved them and want to share a few of them with you in this video, featuring them writing and reading them.

Have you solved the 4th graders riddles yet? The answers are tissue and a match!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

We'll Be The Judge Of That!

For the last two weeks some of our first and second grade classes have been acting as judges for the Irma S. and James H. Black Award. Who was Irma Simonton Black you ask? What is the award given out for? The best way to answer those questions is to visit Bank Street, College of Education's website. Not only will you find out all about Mrs. Black, but you will also find some great resources there.

This year's nominees are......

I shared with the children history and story behind the award and pointed out what made it so special. At the very end of my speel, I told  them all about who the judges of the award were. When they found out that they were the ones making the decision and that their opinion and vote mattered, they were beside themselves and thought it was just about the coolest thing ever. From that moment on, they took their job as judges very seriously.

We kept track of our observations on chart paper to help us better remember what we had talked about. The children made some amazing observations and noticed things that I had overlooked. Every class was different too, each one observing and focusing in on something that the others hadn't.

When the time came to vote, some children had a  hard time deciding which book to give their vote to, while for others their decision had been made long ago.

Our votes have been sent in and now we wait....Who will this year's winner be?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Second Graders Share Their Favorite Books

As World Read Aloud Day approached the second graders and I began to talk about our favorite books, our favorite memories of being read out loud to and times when we have read out loud to others. We then decided that we needed to share our favorite books with others and began to brainstorm how we wanted to do so. We talked about putting posters up in the hallways to share our favorite books, some wanted to create something on the iPad to share with other children, some wanted to just sit and talk with their friends about their favorite books. As this discussion was going on, I read on Shannon Miller's blog Van Meter Library Voice about FlipGrid. It dawned on me that that was going to be the best way to share our favorite books with others. Once I showed the children an example of FlipGrid, they couldn't wait to use it themselves.

The children immediately started working on their scripts, deciding what they should and shouldn't tell the viewer. As one child put it, "We don't want to spill the beans because then no one's going to want to read our books!"

Recording the FlipGrids was fun and super easy for the kids to do on their own, but it did come with a challenge or two for me. One thing that I didn't realize going into it was that not all of our iPads had been updated to the latest version of the operating system. While the children could still watch each others FlipGrids on those iPads, they couldn't record on them. In those instances we had the children record on our desktop computers and whether or not the operating system on that was updated or not wasn't an issue.

Here's a little sample of us using this fun app. The kids not only enjoyed recording their FlipGrids, but watching their friends as well. I am excited to see what the children and I can use FlipGrid for next.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Walking and Listening

I love to go for a walk. Everyday as I head out, whether it be early in the morning or after a day of work, I always have an audio book ready to go. I have found that listening to a book while I walk not only makes the time of my walk flyby, but  helps me to get to know my collection better.
While all the books I am listening to are available in a hard copy in the library, not all of the audio books are. I have been lucky enough to borrow and download some from the public library via OverDrive and One Click Media.
This blog will not only contain the happenings of the library, but it will also include reviews of what I have been listening to and photos from my walks. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Explorers Meet Bob Shea (via Skype that is)

Back in November I had the opportunity to meet the extremely hilarious Bob Shea at the A.A.S.L. Author Meet and Greet. As soon as I got back to school, I told children about the conversation I had had with him. That was all it took. The kids who only knew him from the Dinosaur Vs. series began to discover his other books and soon his shelf area of books was empty. So when Bob Shea tweeted that he was available for Skype visits, I jumped at the chance.

While I was getting ready for the Skype,  I listened to Matthew Winner's amazing podcast Let's Get Busy with Bob Shea. It was super informative and fun to listen to.  Total side note: If you are getting ready for a Skype visit or an author/illustrator study you really have to visit Let's Get Busy Podcasts. They will help you tremendously and give you great insight on the author or illustrator. Plus Matthew is a really nice guy.

Now back to Bob Shea. The Explorers and I read many of his books, came up with questions that we wanted to ask him and even had a practice Skype session from one side of the library to the other. When the day of the Skype arrived, The Explorers were beyond excited to make the call. Here are some of the highlights.
Since the Skype visit, I have heard from quite a few parents what an amazing time their children had meeting Mr. Shea. Many of the children even taught their parents how to draw using jellybeans as the base of their animals.

Just the other day we received some mail from Bob Shea. The kids whooped and hollered when I told them that some mail had arrived for them. They were thrilled to see that inside the envelope was the dinosaur that he had drawn during our Skype visit along with a specially signed copy of Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great.

Thank you Bob Shea for making our first Skype visit such a memorable one for the Explorers, their teachers and myself.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I Have Always Loved Libraries

April is School Library Month and I feel that there is no better time to kick this blog off and formally introduce myself to the library world. Hi, my name is Marci. I love children's literature and exciting children about books. While I have been a librarian for 10 years, my love of books and libraries goes way back.

As a child, my parents read to me all the time. Night after night I begged them to read Are You My Mother? and a book who repeated the line, "I'm thinking about eggs" over and over again and every night my parents complied. Not only did I love being read out loud to, but I loved reading and fell in love with libraries. Mrs. Loftis, the librarian in my elementary school, not only made library fun and but she made books come alive. She allowed me to check books out before they were available to other students which made me feel incredibly special. The things I learned in the library carried over into the classroom and in 4th grade I took it upon myself to reorganize the classroom library.

When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do and really what does one do with an communications degree? My mom suggested becoming a school librarian because I had always loved books. I went back to school, got a degree in education and fell in love with teaching. After eleven years in the classroom, I decided it was time to go back to school and get my Masters in Library and Information Sciences. Ever since then I have been a librarian to kindergarten to fourth graders. I love every moment of my job. I love the craziness of my schedule. I love interacting with the children and getting them excited about books. I love the moment when they discover a new book or series and want to share it with me or a friend. Their excitement is contagious. I love the people and the teachers that I work with. I am so lucky to love what I do and honestly can not imagine having a career better than this.